Wed, Aug 21, 2013 - Page 13 News List

Taiwanese medical supplies producer files patent lawsuit

By Camaron Kao  /  Staff reporter

Local medical supplies producer Apex Medical Corp (雃博) yesterday said it had filed a lawsuit in the US to invalidate six ResMed Inc patents as a counter-action against the US company.

Taipei-based Apex said it hopes the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) will review ResMed’s patents and allow its products for treating sleep breathing disorders to enter the US market again.

The lawsuit is expected to cost Apex US$1 million and it is believed it will take a year for the USPTO to reach a final decision, the company said.

“It is the first time in Taiwan that a company has filed a lawsuit including six patents in the US,” Jou Yen-peng (周延鵬), attorney-at-law and chief executive officer of Wispro Law Offices of International Commerce (世博國際商務法律事務所), said at a press conference.

Jou said his team gathered evidence in the US, Australia and Germany to prove ResMed’s patents are not original.

“We are confident that the USPTO will accept our case because of the evidence we have gathered,” he said.

Last month, Apex reached an agreement with ResMed not to export its continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines and masks for sleep breathing disorders to the US after ResMed filed patent complaints to the US International Trade Commission (ITC) in March.

Jou said the agreement was a strategic move because the lawsuit may cost Apex up to US$5 million and take 14 months.

Meanwhile, the company also announced that it had modified its CPAP machines and masks to meet US patent requirements and will launch them in the US next month.

“We have certificates from agencies to prove that the products we are going to launch this time will not infringe ResMed’s patent rights,” Apex president Daniel Lee (李永川) said.

The company paid US$500,000 for the previous ITC litigation and US$1 million for the certificates, Lee said.

“We are not going to give up the sleep breathing disorder treatment business, which has a global market of NT$100 billion [US$3.34 billion] a year and a gross margin of 60 percent,” Lee said, adding that the US accounts for 40 percent of the world market.

Lee said ResMed accounts for 40 percent of the market share in both the US and worldwide.

“Although the litigation fees are a huge burden to us, we cannot flinch if we are going to be serious about establishing our own brand,” he said.

Apex reported profits of NT$88.56 million, or NT$0.94 per share, in the first half of the year, down from NT$110.76 million, or NT$1.42 per share, a year ago.

Revenue rose 10.35 percent to NT$1 billion in the first six months, from NT$906.22 million the previous year, and sales growth is likely to continue in the second half, Lee said.

Sales to the US and Europe account for about 70 percent of the company’s total revenue, Apex spokesperson Amy Teng (鄧伊惠) said.

Shares of Apex Medical declined 0.15 percent to NT$32.45 yesterday, outperforming the TAIEX, which was down 0.86 percent.

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